Seven years into the Soviet Union’s fatal adventure in Afghanistan, U.S. President Ronald Reagan stood before the international community in West Berlin and demanded that Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev tear down the wall that separated East Germany from the West.
Today, it is the United States that is engulfed in costly, interminable wars, and Tom Engelhardt, editor of TomDispatch, is calling for Americans to “tear down” the $3.3 billion “hubris-filled 1,776 feet of building, planned in the heyday of George W. Bush and soaring into the Manhattan sky like a nyaah-nyaah invitation to future terrorists,” that is being erected to commemorate the 9/11 attacks.
Engelhardt is no Reagan Republican. But for him, “Freedom Tower”—renamed 1 World Trade Center in 2009 and set to stand at the symbolic height of 1,776 feet—exploits the ideal of liberty and all those who were killed in the decade-long worldwide carnage that followed the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. —ARK
Ask yourself this: ten years into the post-9/11 era, haven’t we had enough of ourselves? If we have any respect for history or humanity or decency left, isn’t it time to rip the Band-Aid off the wound, to remove 9/11 from our collective consciousness? No more invocations of those attacks to explain otherwise inexplicable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and our oh-so-global war on terror. No more invocations of 9/11 to keep the Pentagon and the national security state flooded with money. No more invocations of 9/11 to justify every encroachment on liberty, every new step in the surveillance of Americans, every advance in pat-downs and wand-downs and strip downs that keeps fear high and the homeland security state afloat.
The attacks of September 11, 2001 were in every sense abusive, horrific acts. And the saddest thing is that the victims of those suicidal monstrosities have been misused here ever since under the guise of pious remembrance. This country has become dependent on the dead of 9/11—who have no way of defending themselves against how they have been used—as an all-purpose explanation for our own goodness and the horrors we’ve visited on others, for the many towers-worth of dead in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere whose blood is on our hands.